WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Adding the drug levetiracetam (brand name Keppra) to antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy increases the number of seizure-free days for people with refractory epilepsy, says a University of Minnesota study.
It found adding Keppra to AED provided more than five additional seizure-free days over three months -- the equivalent of nearly three weeks a year -- to people with difficult-to-treat partial-onset epilepsy compared to those on placebo.
Researchers evaluated data from 846 people who took part in Phase III clinical trials of Keppra.
In adults, partial-onset seizures are the most common manifestation of epilepsy, which affects about 2.3 million Americans. About a third of people with partial-onset seizures have uncontrolled epilepsy, meaning they continue to have seizures that aren't controlled by drug therapy or other forms of treatment.
"For refractory patients who experience severe and difficult-to-control epilepsy, seizure-free days are often an unobtainable goal," study author Dr. Ilo Leppik, a clinical professor of neurology and pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities, says in a prepared statement.
"An extra 20 days free from seizures over a year improves the quality of life of many patients who have learned to live with this disease and to expect regular and frequent seizures," Leppik says.
Keppra tablets were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999 for the adjunctive treatment of partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy. Keppra oral solution received the same approval in July 2003.
Here's where you can learn more about epilepsy.